(WASHINGTON) — The war of words between Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and former generals has spread to the lower ranks as soldiers, recent war vets, and Pentagon civilians alike use a growing number of Web logs on the Internet to sound off on their current and former bosses.

Many who run the independent sites, which tend to defend the Iraq war against criticism by politicians and media, are backing Rumsfeld, while some bloggers, most writing under assumed names, have joined the call for a fresh start.

One widely accessible site operated by those still in uniform, the ”Countercolumn’ at iraqnow.blogspot.com, has awarded one of the retired generals a ”that-was-then-this-is-now’ award for criticizing the invasion even though he had previously said Iraq was a danger to the United States.
The site, which serves as a portal for other military blogs such as ”American Citizen Soldier,’ ”BlackFive,’ as well as official military websites, also links to a ”Let’s Get Rummy’ timeline dating back to 2003 — an obvious slap at opponents who have called for his removal before but have failed.
Soldiers can be dismissed or sentenced to one year in prison for uttering ”contemptuous words’ about the commander in chief and other government leaders, but there is no penalty for criticizing them. Still, public criticism is unusual in the military.

But in the relative safety of anonymity, some military bloggers have fanned the controversy swirling around their civilian bosses. One man, describing himself as a helicopter pilot, ”Outlaw 13,” who posts on guidons.blogspot.com, wrote that ”a lot of folks in the head shed have heartburn with” Rumsfeld.

Bush has his handsful with Rummy. Seems like at least some of the grassroots military bloggers feel they need a change at the top. Read their sites and express your opinion…